Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stuck Hands

Monday, December 11, I set down a few more acoustic guitar tracks for "Dirty Money and Filthy Love," "Ada," "Suffragette Chrysler," and "Let's Climb the Staircase." I brought my Rode NTK mic this time, which created a very nice and bright and full sound for the guitar.

"Ada" was a breeze - just clean strumming without much fuss at all.

Next, we decided to tackle "Let's Climb the Staircase" while my fingers were still fresh. When this song is played live, I play it very loosely, and picking two strings at a time and being a little messy is just fine; however, when committing it to recording, the process can be much more demanding. Needless to say, this song took several takes, and it took a lot of energy out of my fingers.

"Suffragette Chrysler" went smoothly since the strumming it pretty straightforward, like an early Neil Diamond song. Though my fingers were tired, we breezed through this one fairly quickly.

"Dirty Money" was another story. I play two chords very high on the neck, and the song's got a long long meander of double time in the end, and by the time the right take was done and I lifted my fingers off the strings, my hand was stuck fast in the form of a claw.

I'm glad I've got this space to write down and share the tiny minutiae of these recordings to remember later on. Recording the history will make the finishing of the project all the more satisfying.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Status Report: Classical Guitar

This is a Distant Fairs recording status report.

Today at Royal Dutch, I laid down classical and acoustic guitar tracks for three tunes:

"Station Girl" - I think I've told you about this one before. It's about a guy who meets a girl in a subway station, falls in love, and then falls out of love. "So you move in with her / There are no maps of the heart by Baedeker / And she bores you with coffee beans / And her tiny television dreams / Oh ohhh." This one's got an interesting classical picking style running throughout it.

"JoSaie" - Moved on to the spaghetti western steel string beginning of "JoSaie," that song about a young male model/film star. The guitar line was a particularly challenging and swiftly moving arpeggiated picking line. Many many takes, each one pushing the steel strings deeper and deeper into my fingertips.

"Up Tonight" - What to do with this song! It's frightfully strange for us. I guess I'll stop there and let this one develop where it will. It's kind of like an unruly kid wanting to do what it will, and the parent has to relinquish some control or go crazy. The song called for a bossa style classical guitar line. Thank goodness, as the steel strings had pushed heavily into my fingertips at that point.

Bla bla bla. So why are most of the pics of me! It's not because I love these pics. I'm just in the studio a lot right now. I'll get some good ones of Cortnie soon, but she has to OK them - otherwise, they won't see the light of day.

As always, more soon!

Friday, December 01, 2006

D-28 Martin in Studio

The Martin D28 dreadnought I'm playing in the studio is a real pleasure. It actually belongs to Roger Wall, Matt and Aaron's dad. I must remember to ask him the history of it so I can write it down here for posterity.

What I do know is he's had it for many years, and so it's had fine time to mellow and age gracefully. It's not the frilly or excessively adorned or fancy in any way but does have nice simple edging and a great shine. It's basic, straight ahead--a no-nonsense kind of guitar.

With its fresh strings, it sounds clean and bright and rich. Today, I used it to lay down rhythm tracks for "Trona," "Kenny Filthy," and "JoSaie" in that order. I laid down an additional arpeggio part for "Trona" just in case we want to use it later.

Recording goes much more smoothly in the early mornings, so we started early. The studio was relatively quite--and very dark. So dark, in fact, it freaked me out just a bit as I walked down the hallways, feeling the walls to find the hallways that T'd off to the various rooms.

Seven more tracks need the acoustic, so we should be done with it by next week. Then comes electric guitars with Ricky.